Tuesday 21 November 2017

The Labour leadership were absolutely right to oppose Ian Murray's economic suicide amendment

When the right-wing Labour MP Ian Murray's proposed amendment to the Taxation (Cross Border Trade) Bill was defeated there was an eruption of outrage amongst the right-wing of the Labour Party and the appalling self-declared centrist types who propagandise for them on Twitter and in the mainstream media.

How they howled and shrieked that some Labour MPs had voted against the amendment designed to stop the UK from imposing tariffs and quotas on produce from the EU.

In reality the vast majority of Labour MPs abstained on the vote, with just 18 voting against the amendment and 28 voting in favour, meaning that the amendment was always going to fail, and was beaten by 311 votes to 76.

The furious centrist narrative was quickly set that the 18 Labour MPs who voted against the Murray amendment were traitors who were determined to force a Tory hard Brexit by ruling out membership of the EU Customs Union. However this  propaganda narrative couldn't be further from the truth.

In reality the Murray amendment would have worked to create an even harder Brexit than even the most foaming-at-the-mouth hard-right Tories are aiming for.

The Murray amendment would have caused a British economic catastrophe by making it impossible for the UK to apply import tariffs or quotas on any products from anywhere in the world, while all other countries could continue to apply import tariffs on the UK!

The reason for this is that if the UK reverts to World Trade Organisation rules (which seems increasingly probable given the shambolic Tory handling of the Brexit process) the WTO "Most Favoured Nation" rule states that unless you have a specific trade agreement, then you must offer the same deal to everyone. So if you've legislated to make it illegal to apply tariffs or quotas on imports from EU countries, then you can't apply tariffs or quotas from imports from literally anywhere else in the world either.

Just think back to the chaos caused by the Chinese dumping cheap steel on the world market. If the Murray amendment had have passed, the UK would have been rendered powerless to stop other larger economies from deliberately wrecking UK industries through strategic dumping.

The UK already has an alarmingly vast trade deficit with the rest of the world, and just imagine how much worse that trade deficit would have got had the rest of the world been allowed to flood the UK with unlimited tariff free imports, while UK exports are subjected to quotas and tariffs at the normal WTO rates.

The idea of totally eliminating tariffs and quotas is actually utopia for hard-right Lassaiz-Faire fanatics, but even most of the hard-right Brexiteers understand that eliminating all tariffs and quotas on imports, while other countries can continue applying them on our exports would be economic suicide.

What Murray's amendment would have achieved is a state of unilateral economic surrender. But somehow the Labour right-wing and the centrist dad types have whipped themselves up into furious outrage over the fact that the Labour front bench had the economic sense to see the dangerous economic illiteracy of the Murray amendment, and ensure that it could not pass.

It should obviously be no surprise to anyone that Ian Murray is a Labour right-winger from the Progress faction of the party, because no left-winger (or anyone with a grain of sense) would want the UK to use Brexit as an excuse to declare unilateral economic surrender.

This whole furore just goes to prove that it's not just the Tories who engage in reality-reversing propaganda, but the Labour Party right-wingers and the so-called centrists do it too.

How else is it possible to explain their furious accusations that the Labour front bench have sided with hard-Brexit Tories, when what they actually did was ensure that Ian Murray's ill-considered amendment didn't end up creating a unilateral economic surrender version of Brexit that's so extreme that even most of the fruit-loop Tory hard-Brexiteers have sufficient sense to steer clear of it!

So if you come across anyone expressing outrage that the Labour leadership opposed the Murray amendment, you can safely conclude that they're just simple-minded ideological partisans who are so desperate to attack Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour left that they have literally no interest in the reality of what actually happened at all. In fact accusing the Labour front bench of colluding with hard-Brexit Tories shows so little regard for the facts that it's obvious that they're (either wilfully or ignorantly) reversing reality.

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